Cake mix coffee cake is an irresistible cake to serve with coffee. A quick and oh so easy to make version of this classic cake, it’s sure to become one of your regular recipes!

Coffee cake in a pan with a single slice cut away from the whole cake.

There’s something so comforting about sharing a warm coffee cake with friends and family. It really is the perfect accompaniment to hot coffee or tea and is never out of place at breakfast or brunch! The best part about his recipe is that it’s a breeze to make with a few simple ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry!

This yellow cake mix coffee cake is light and moist with a delicious cinnamon pecan filling. Even more of the filling is sprinkled over the top of the cake to give an added crunch.

If you haven’t considered using cake mix to make coffee cake, I encourage you to give it a try! I love the shortcut of using it in this recipe, but if you’d prefer to make your own cake from scratch, I also have an amazing recipe for a yellow cake

Why is it called a coffee cake?

Not to be confused with a coffee-flavored cake, this cake is popular for serving alongside coffee or tea at breakfast or brunch. It typically has a streusel topping and is often flavored with cinnamon and brown sugar.

What You’ll Need to Make this Recipe

Ingredients for coffee cake using a yellow cake mix prepped and labeled.

My recipe calls for a few common baking ingredients, plus one great shortcut!

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix – use your favorite brand here. Using a mix is so quick and easy! I also have a recipe for a DIY yellow cake mix if you want to try making your own!
  • Unsalted butter – there’s salt in boxed cake mix, so no need to add any more.
  • Light or dark brown sugar – light has less molasses flavor and dark brown contains more molasses, so has a deeper caramel flavor
  • Ground cinnamon – gives the cake a warm spiced flavor
  • Pecans – you could swap for walnuts if you prefer
  • Eggs – I use large eggs
  • Sour cream – full-fat sour cream creates a moisture cake

How to turn cake mix into coffee cake

It’s so great when you have a recipe that you can whip up in a matter of moments. The preparation of this cake mix recipe is so quick and easy, which means you can have it in the oven in 10 minutes! The hardest part is waiting to have your first slice!

  1. Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350 F/180 C and grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Make the filling. Put 2/3 cup of cake mix in a medium bowl and add melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Mix everything to combine.
  3. Make the batter. Combine cake mix, eggs, and sour cream in a large bowl until smooth.
  4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, then sprinkle over half the filling. Pour the remaining batter over the top and smooth into an even layer. It might help to grease an offset spatula to help with spreading the top layer of batter without disturbing the filling too much.
  5. Sprinkle over the other half of the filling to form the streusel topping.
  6. Bake the cake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Start checking the cake at 45 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when you insert a toothpick or thin skewer into the center and it comes out clean.
Mixing together the filling and topping ingredients for coffee cake.
Mixing together coffee cake batter in a white bowl.
Step by step photos of layering coffee cake filling, batter, and topping.

Serving Ideas

Coffee cake tastes so good when it’s warm! Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. You can also serve it at room temperature.

If you want to dress your coffee cake up a bit, you can make a quick glaze with powdered sugar and water or milk and drizzle it over the top using a fork or a spoon. Sometimes I’ll dust over some of the powdered sugar for an easy topping.

More Coffee Cake Recipes

There are so many options for flavors when it comes to coffee cake. More cake? Yes please! Here are a few of my other recipes:

Overhead closeup photo of a coffee cake in a pan.

FAQ’s

Does coffee cake taste like coffee?

Nope! Despite the name, there is no coffee in this cake. The cake is usually served with coffee, which is really how it got its name.

Can I make coffee cake in advance?

This recipe really tastes the best when it’s freshly baked. You could bake it the night before and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap overnight. In the morning, pop the cake into the microwave to heat up for 10 – 20 seconds.

Can I substitute margarine for the butter in this recipe?

I recommend using butter for this recipe. Butter will give you a much richer flavor. Margarine also tends to have a higher water content which can change the texture of your cake.

Storing your cake

As tempting as it might be to eat the entire cake in one go, you might find yourself with leftovers. This cake is best eaten on the day it’s made, but you can store it at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

I like to eat my coffee cake warm, so to refresh day-old cake, I put individual slices on microwavable plates and warm them in the microwave for 10 – 20 seconds.

Slice of cake mix coffee cake on a plate, with a forkful taken off.

Cake Mix Coffee Cake

This cake mix coffee cake is light and moist with a delicious cinnamon pecan filling. The perfect companion to a cup of hot coffee!
5 (11 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (198 g) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (114 g) finely chopped pecans
  • 3 eggs
  • cups (340 g) sour cream

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside.
  • Make the Filling: Remove ⅔ cup of the cake mix and place in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans, mixing with a spoon or spatula to thoroughly combine.
  • In a large bowl, combine the remaining cake mix, eggs, and sour cream until completely combined.
  • Pour half of the wet batter into the prepared pan, then sprinkle evenly with half of the filling.
  • Pour the remaining batter over top and smooth it into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining filling mixture over the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick or thin skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving to serve warm; it can also be served at room temperature.

Notes

  • Yellow Cake Mix: Use your favorite brand here. Using a mix is so quick and easy! I also have a recipe for a DIY yellow cake mix if you want to try making your own!
  • Pecans: You could swap for walnuts if you prefer, or omit entirely if you need to avoid nuts.
  • Sour Cream: Use full-fat for a wonderfully moist cake. You can also substitute full-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Serving: Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature. 
  • Garnish: Serve plain or with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a drizzle of simple icing (mix powdered sugar with water or milk to create a drizzling consistency).
  • Storage: Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Calories: 298kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 268mg, Potassium: 106mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 273IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 119mg, Iron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photography by Dee Frances.